Dungavel Hunger Striker Calls for Freedom : “they are killing me here”
Adel Aboulkacem, currently detained at Dungavel Immigration Removal Centre, has gone on indefinite hunger strike today in protest at his treatment by the UK Home Office. Originally from Tunisia, Adel has been living in the UK for fifteen years. He has a family here, with two children who were born in the UK and a partner. Adel is asking for his release to prepare for his next court date, urgent medical care and better treatment for those in detention.
Talking over the phone with his friends at Unity Centre Glasgow Adel explains:
“I want to be released please, so I can be with my family and lawyer before my appeal.
I need to bring my partner and kids together to go to this appeal. They told me to bring my family to the appeal but how I can do that when I’m inside?
I’m trying to support my family from inside by working, I want to look after my kids, I want they to have a good life. They are struggling to pay bills and clothes without me there. My daughter and son need new shoes and I’m stuck here. You cannot clap with one hand, you need two hands, and that’s me and my partner. What can I do, they are killing me here. They are keeping people for a long time here, for no reason. Any other country in Europe its three months. Here it could be weeks, months, years. I know one man here who is four years in detention, it is ridiculous, he has two kids.
Being in detention, they try and make you calm down buts impossible, its not right. They wont let us on the internet, or to read the newspaper. They are pushing you to do something bad to yourself. To kill yourself or harm yourself. There is lots of fighting and drugs.
Please if people can support me or protest I would support it, because everyday something happens here and its driving everyone mental. Someone got on top of the building today, and tried to jump, he said ‘you want to kill me’. They have been taking people by force, people have lost their lives here. They have been here so long, for making one mistake. Everyone has one mistake in their lives, but my mistake is costing me my life. I had a seven week prison sentence, and I’ve been eight months in detention. I’ve done more detention than prison! I dont know what it looks like outside any more.”
Adel was found guilty of theft but regrets the choice he made. He was in desperate circumstances and feeling a huge amount of pressure to provide for his family. He had never committed a crime before but he turned to it in desperation.
Whilst in prison he has changed this way of thinking and he wouldn’t turn to crime again. Following a successful fundraiser to get Adel money for his bail surety, the Home Office still denied him bail as they argued the £400 raised was not enough. Adel is still in detention and is suffering from various medical problems, having been told he needs to wait up to 27 weeks to see the medical professional he requires.
Adel is asking for anyone who is able to support him by signing and sharing this petition, contacting MSPs and MPs or protesting in other ways.